Crabtree Falls Hike

On Sunday it was finally clear and sunny (we have had one of the rainiest summer’s on record) AND my best friend Sarah was in town from Pittsburgh.   The hubs and I decided it was the perfect opportunity to do a little exploring.  We set out to find Crabtree Falls!

Awww… isn’t it gorgeous?


We use our trusty guidebook to find the waterfall.  None of us had ever done this hike before so we need a little guidance.


Luckily we remember at the last minute that the Blue Ridge Parkway is blocked to Mt. Mitchell so we take a detour on Highway 19 in Yancey/Mitchell county.


It takes us a little longer to get to where we want to be along the Parkway, but it is still a beautiful drive.


We finally arrive at mile post 339 and it is a perfect 75 degrees and sunny!  Don’t you love cool mountain summers?


We bring Reina who is so excited we can hardly get her to sit for a picture.  Poor Rhett has too short of legs to go on hikes… sometimes it’s rough to be a doxie.


The trail is well marked from the parking lot and we have no trouble figuring out where to go.  It is relatively quiet and the store and snack bar are closed.  We assume this is because of the road closure and detour making it harder for people to get there.


The trail starts with a paved tree lined path through the campground (also closed.)



We pass a cool looking amphitheater that we imagine must be fun on camping trips.


As we walk farther the pavement turns into packed dirt which is easy to walk along.


I see Black Eyed Susan’s, which just scream mountain summers to me.


And we also notice these super cool flowers that I have never seen before.  Does anyone know what they are?


Just past the campground we spot more signs.


This one says the hike is strenuous.  We are a little concerned because we think we are in for an easy hike, but we decide to keep going.


Reina doesn’t seem to care as she is just so excited to be along for the journey.  Look at this happy face!!


The trail starts off with more packed dirt and stones.


There are several areas with steep steps and bridges.  We are definitely aware that we have been walking downhill for a long time.   What goes down… must come back up…DSCN4155[1]


As we get closer to the water the trail turns into a stone walk that is uneven and hard to maneuver.


We even see signs of what must be weather damage from all the rain we have seen this summer.  We walk for about a mile and maneuver those uneven stones for about half the time.


Just as we are getting a little tired of walking the trees open and we see this…


70 feet of crashing water with sun glistening off the top.  It’s the perfect day.



The water is running high and the waterfall gushes a cool breeze everywhere.  We didn’t pass hardly anyone along the trail or in the parking lot and are surprised to see dozens of people at the bottom of the falls.

We get a great seat on a bench and eat lunch.


I’m loving my PB&J and Reina is loving her water!


After lunch we enjoy the views and take some pictures.






Eventually we decide to head back to the car.  The hike is actually a big loop so we can head back the way we came, which is shorter, or check out the longer remaining portion of the trail.  The rocks were pretty hard to walk along on the front side of the loop so we decide to see if the second half is any smoother.  We see the huge set of stairs we must climb up now and grow concerned again… maybe walking back uphill is where this hike gets “strenuous.”


The way back is uphill the whole way but it is less rocky and more comfortable to walk on.  We see some beautiful sites along the way.



Just when we think we must be getting close to the car we see this…


… a sign that says we still have seven tenths of a mile left!  HA!  Our legs are getting tired and Reina is not as excited to be walking anymore.  The hike seems like a good bit longer on the way out.  I read afterwards that it is an additional six tenths of a mile longer this way.


By the time we get back to the parking lot we figure we walked almost 3 miles.  It seems a little long on that last uphill stretch, but it is really the a perfect length for a pleasant afternoon hike.


I love living in a place that we can do so many outdoor things in our own backyard!  I hope we have more time before the weather turns cold to enjoy more of these sites.

** Not to sound preachy… but please remember to enjoy these sites with CAUTION.  Every year I hear about people getting hurt or even dying at our local waterfalls.  Most of those accidents are from people climbing to the top of the falls or walking along the top of the falls.  Please enjoy the site from the bottom where it is safer and do not climb the rocks.  Also please do not go to the falls when it is raining or when the ground is still wet from rain.  The rushing water can be dangerous and the wet rocks can cause you to slip.  You have to respect mother nature!!  **








  1. Manju Hariharan December 14, 2015 at 2:45 am - Reply

    Nice pictures. Beautiful place!

  2. Renee @ Bendiful Blog April 23, 2015 at 10:18 pm - Reply

    Julie! This looks like such a great time! I want sunshine so badly! All those trails! Lovely!

  3. Kathleen Smart August 11, 2013 at 4:33 pm - Reply

    Julie the tiger lilies are dangerous to cats,, do not know about dogs, Here is a site to read up,, there are different kinds of them,

    • JulieWunder August 12, 2013 at 6:08 pm - Reply

      Thanks Kathleen! If I see them again– I will make sure to keep Reina away, just in case.

  4. Robin @ Simply Southern Baking August 10, 2013 at 4:51 pm - Reply

    Thanks for sharing Julie. We haven’t been to these falls. One of our favorite spots is going to the falls in DuPont Forest.

    • JulieWunder August 12, 2013 at 6:09 pm - Reply

      Dupont is SO pretty too. It’s been a couple years since I’ve been there– I will have to go back sometime.

  5. Ruby Crumpler August 9, 2013 at 11:34 pm - Reply

    The flowers you had not seen are by the old name Tiger Lilies. May be by another name but my Grandmother had some and she said Tiger Lilies. Beautiful falls and pic. of you hike. ULR

  6. Ruby Crumpler August 9, 2013 at 11:30 pm - Reply

    The flowers you had not seen are by the old name Tiger Lilies. Matiful falls> enjoyeduy be another name but my Grandmother had some and she said Tiger Lilies. Beautiful!!! ULR

    • JulieWunder August 12, 2013 at 6:09 pm - Reply

      Grandma’s always know these things 🙂
      Thanks for letting me know!

  7. Liliane Strawser August 9, 2013 at 9:54 pm - Reply

    Great trail! We try to hike it at least once a year.

  8. Dan Steadman August 9, 2013 at 2:59 pm - Reply

    Tammy’s right, the snack bar and campground are closed until they get this Federal budget/sequestration thing straight. As far as outdoor, other than the training for Asheville, not a lot, we are in the process of helping my dad and uncles moves my grandmother so that takes a lot of our time up. I would say that Crabtree is my favorite waterfall…but have to do more research. Cool things in Spartanburg, we have Camp Croft which was a WWI training ground, with tons of trails and a trail HM in November…and Duncan Park the oldest active baseball stadium in the south, that area has a trail and a lake…

    • JulieWunder August 12, 2013 at 6:10 pm - Reply

      There are so many waterfalls around here! I think we could see a different one every weekend in the summer!
      Hope marathon training is still going well.

      • Dan Steadman August 13, 2013 at 4:43 pm - Reply

        ok, just hit a little bump in the road I need your advise on..otherwise I am dealing well with the slower than predicted times that accompany training in the sauna of SC

  9. Joyce August 9, 2013 at 2:07 pm - Reply

    Julie, Thank you for this story and the beautiful pictures..Reina is so cute…

    • JulieWunder August 12, 2013 at 6:11 pm - Reply

      Thanks 🙂 She is such a sweetie!

  10. Laura Connell Stailey August 9, 2013 at 1:57 pm - Reply

    Julie – Your father and I went to high school together and are friends on FB. Consequently I see your postings and follow your blog. My husband Jud is a marathoner and a meteorologist working for NOAA so your writings are right up our alley. We especially like your recipes as we eat as natural and meatless as possible. Do you know or have heard of Bill Agrella who lives in Asheville and is a well known runner? He and Jud used to work together in the Air Force about 20 years ago. Jud was the commander of the AF’s Environmental Technical Applications Center at Scott AFB, IL, and Bill ran its Operating Location there in Asheville. I’ve wanted to write you for a long time because of all the connections and tell you how much I enjoy your blog. And, by the way, the tall orangish/pink flower in question from your waterfall hike is called a Turks Cap Lily. It blooms in late July-August and can often grow over 6 feet high. Keep up the great writings/pictures/recipes! Take care!


    • JulieWunder August 12, 2013 at 6:14 pm - Reply

      Hi Laura,
      I’m so glad you found my blog through my Dad! It is such a small world!! It sounds like we have a lot in common. I’ll send you an e-mail about those questions…
      Thanks so much for reading!!

  11. Richard Hill August 9, 2013 at 1:03 pm - Reply


    I have been fortunate to do a lot of waterfall hiking myself this summer. Most recently I went to Triple (?) Falls at DuPont State Forest near Brevard. It is a very powerful series of three waterfalls on the Little River. I saw a number of people doing some very dangerous things oiut in the water where it is forbidden to go in the first place. Transylvania County is known as Waterfall Country. Thnaks for sharing this with us.

    Rick Hill

    • JulieWunder August 12, 2013 at 6:14 pm - Reply

      No problem Rick! Triple falls is amazing!!!

  12. Tammy August 9, 2013 at 12:30 pm - Reply

    This campground, store and snackbar are permanently closed due to gov budget cuts. One of the best campgrounds on the parkway. It’s beautiful in the fall. Camped here every year. Enjoyed your pics of the falls. Looks like rain has done some damage to the trail going down.

    • JulieWunder August 12, 2013 at 6:15 pm - Reply

      Absolutely some rain damage this year. It’s a great area– it’s a shame they had to shut it. At least the trail is well maintined– even with the weather damage, it wasn’t hard to maneuver.

  13. Joanne August 9, 2013 at 11:48 am - Reply

    As I am not a hiker and wouldn’t have seen this waterfall on my own, thanks for the beautiful pictures.

    • JulieWunder August 12, 2013 at 6:16 pm - Reply

      That’s great Joanne– I was hoping some people who would not get to go on these trips might enjoy the pictures and narrative 🙂
      Thanks again for reading!

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